This is episode #339, and today’s guest is Dan Barrett. Dan is an online lead generation expert, and focuses specifically on leads for real estate investors.
Today’s show is pure GOLD if you’re not already generating leads online – and if you’re not…you’re missing out. We discuss different ways to generate leads, including some bleeding edge techniques, how to target the same people online that you’re already targeting with direct mail, and Dan shares his thoughts on how to get started, or ramp up.
So…let’s dive into this episode of the FlipNerd Expert Interview show. Please help me welcome Dan Barrett to the show!
Mike: This is the flipnerd.com Expert Real Estate Investing Show, the show for real estate investors, whether you’re a veteran or brand-new. I’m your host, Mike Hambright, and each week I bring you a new expert guest that will share their knowledge and lessons with you. If you’re excited about real estate investing, believe in personal responsibility and taking control of your life and financial destiny, you’re in the right place.
This is episode number 339 and today’s guest is Dan Barrett. Dan is an online lead generation expert and focuses specifically on leads for real estate investors. Today’s show is pure gold if you’re not already generating leads online. If you’re not, you are missing out and you’re going to hear more about that today.
We discuss different ways to generate leads, including some leading edge techniques, how to target the same people online that you’re already targeting with direct mail. This is incredible stuff and Dan shares his thoughts on how to get started if you haven’t started yet. If you are advertising online, how you might be able to ramp up.
So let’s dive into this episode of the FlipNerd Expert Interview Show. Please help me welcome Dan Barrett to the show.
Dan Barrett, welcome to the show, my friend.
Dan: Thank you for having me. So pumped to be here.
Mike: Yeah, yeah, I’m glad to talk about this stuff because, honestly, I’m working on a lot of these things in my business right now, trying to improve lead generation, looking at all the kind of evolution that’s happening on online advertising and you’re the man. So not only am I going to get some insights today, you’re going to share it with thousands of other people that are going to be watching this shortly. Thanks for being here.
Dan: Yeah. It’s my pleasure. Yeah, man, it is a wild world out there. It’s like I always say this to everybody but in our business, the thing we do this year is almost always completely different from what we did last year and the year before. I’m like about 10 or 15 years into this stuff at this point. Honestly, it’s so different and changes so fast. That’s what makes it fun though, right?
Mike: Yeah. So I’m trying to do some quick math. Fifteen years, I was trying to think of, okay, it’s 2017, so that’s 2002? Is that right?
Dan: Just about.
Mike: Yeah, I guess Al Gore had invented the internet at that point. I think he invented it about five to six years prior to that.
Dan: Yeah, I always say that I got my start in web design and then I moved from that to doing SEO and I always say that when I started doing SEO, SEO meant like if you’re an investor, at the bottom of your website, if the background was white, you would run “Real Estate, Real Estate, Real Estate.”
Mike: Right. Stuff it full of words. Yeah.
Dan: Those were the good old days when things were much easier. That’s kind of the era I got started in.
Mike: Cool. Tell us a little bit more about you. Before we dive into this, tell us a little bit more about your background and kind of mix in there when you made the evolution into working specifically with real estate investors.
Dan: Yeah. My background is very varied, you could say. My formal education is in history and Japanese literature, so I don’t exactly have the most online focused of degrees. Those are where my masters’ degrees are.
I always thought I wanted to be a teacher essentially. Basically ever since I’ve been a kid and we got our first computer, I’ve been teaching myself to code and build websites and was always sort of in that world. Then I got into music and I was always the guy in the band that had to make the website and do the promotion.
Then basically when I got out into the working world and I was teaching, I just started freelancing doing web design and just kind of doing this stuff on the side. In about two years, I realized I was making more freelancing part-time than I would in my first four years as a full-time teacher. So at that point I was like, “I’ve got to give this a shot and see how it goes.”
I started up Two Friendly Nerds, which is our parent company. It was just me for awhile building websites. I got really into online marketing.
Mike: So you started a company called “Two Friendly Nerds” and it was just you? You were lying from the beginning.
Dan: No, I have a reason for that. It was going to be me and my friend Mike and originally Mike was going to be the in-person networking guy like [inaudible 00:04:47] and stuff. I was like, “Awesome, this is great. We came up with a name.” I printed, like, 10 million business cards and then he was like, “Hey, I just got a job at Aetna by getting paid a million bazillion dollars a day.” So he was like, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” I was like, “Well, I ordered the cards. I’m not changing the name.” As my wife later said, “Two Friendly Nerds is cute but One Friendly Nerd is creepy, so just keep it.”
Mike: Oh yeah. That’s funny.
Dan: Yeah, it was a big relief when I hired my first person and I was like, “Finally.”
Mike: Yeah, there’s at least two.
Dan: Yeah, exactly. It’s like, “It’s not just me anymore.” Then I was doing online marketing for local businesses and I did all sorts of stuff like plastic surgeons and ambulance companies, all sorts of different industries. I ended up going to a Tony Robbins business event because I was like, “Hey, I’m investing back in my business.” I pretty much plateaued doing kind of what I was doing. We were very spread out all over the place.
I knew I wanted to focus on a specific industry but I hadn’t made a decision. I ended up just sitting next to these two people who are investors up in Albany and they were doing really well. Just struck up a conversation with them and they were like . . . this is literally like the first day I was there and they were like, “Hey, you should just work with investors because we really need leads all the time.” I was like, “That’s it. I’m going with investors.” I didn’t know anything about investing. I was like, “It’s meant to be.”
That was about three years ago now and ever since then it’s been 100% investors and it is fascinating. It’s such a weird industry for what we do. Everything you know, you kind of have to throw out the window. We get to do all this cool research, we’re the first people that ever did it. We were the first company that ever did a truly large scale statistical keyword analysis across AdWords’ channel. We had 10-15 years of back data.
So it’s really exciting and fun because you get to do new stuff that no one’s done before and we really get to come up with interesting approaches. Yeah, it’s great.
Mike: I’ve always sensed . . . Before I got into real estate investing, which has been almost 10 years ago now, I worked for . . . I wouldn’t say I was a technology guy. I’ve always been interested in gadgets and stuff like that. But before this, I worked for basically an online retailer, so a dot com company. I went from an old school retailer to an online retailer and I was like, “These guys are pretty sharp, they’re pretty savvy.”
Mike: Then when I got into real estate investing, my impression for pretty much this whole time has always been, hey, the real estate investing industry is about three to five years behind everybody else technology-wise. So there’s nothing cutting edge going on. Now I feel like that gap has shortened a lot over the past couple years. There are a lot of really cool CRMs, there’s a lot of really cool technology coming out there. So I think that gap is not as wide as it used to be. Is that your impression as well, is that real estate investors are . . . Probably because they’re so fragmented, right? That’s probably a part of it.
Dan: I think that’s a part of it. I completely agree that the five year behind the curve number is one that we actually use in-house all the time. It’s more about when does something reach sort of everybody knows about it, everybody wants to do it. Kind of last year, I feel like everybody was figuring out that they needed to do Google AdWords and needed to do online advertising.
But the heyday of AdWords was seven years ago. This year I feel like people are coming to us a lot so we launched kind of a Facebook advertising service and a lot of people are coming to us for Facebook advertising. It’s interesting to me because the heyday of Facebook was three or four years ago. When I say “heyday,” I just mean that when the people that we’re always looking for the newest thing on there.
I think part of that’s fragmentation is exactly right. Part of it is just . . . If you’re learning investing, investing more than any other industry I’ve ever been a part of is based on this idea of mentoring, whether it’s with a coach or whether it’s like, “Hey, I went to a local REIA and met somebody locally that’s going to help me out.” I’ve never met an industry that was more like that. It’s almost like apprenticing or being a journeyman or whatever.
Because of that, people tend to learn . . . If you’re a mentor, you’re going to teach someone the stuff that has worked that you have a proven track record for, and investing, that’s mail, right? I think that’s shifting, it’s changing, but it’s just going to take time because the people of today are going to get super successful. Then when they mentor the next generation of investors, it’s going to be, still do mail, mail’s still awesome, but you need to also go online, you need to also do these other things.
Mike: Yeah, absolutely. So my big question is is MySpace still really hot? I’m one of those guys that’s like, “Man, I’ve got this good joke, it’s just when am I going to say it?” I’m like, “Now’s the time.” Anyway.
Dan: I really liked it.
Mike: I don’t even know if that exists anymore, but anyway. Cool. So let’s talk about . . . One of the first things I want to talk about is why online? You’ve kind of talked about some of this. Obviously everybody’s online for everything now. I’ll give you an example.
Everybody can relate with this stuff. Three or four days ago, we have this big 12-volt battery in my garage that’s connected to our internet service, basically our cable and our internet service has a backup battery. I don’t know what they’re backing up because if it stops working, it just goes down. I don’t know.
About once every two years, this battery starts chirping and you can hear it throughout my house and it’s like, “Okay, I’ve got to get a new battery.” We never have this big 12-volt laying around. It’s like next to the AAAs in the kitchen drawer.
Literally, I walked outside, I heard that chirp, I knew exactly what it was because I’ve dealt with this before. I grabbed my phone and I’m not joking, within about two minutes completely, I had ordered one on Amazon and it was going to be there in a day or something. Everybody does everything online now, especially major purchases or major decisions. You always go research it online. I think the days of, “Let me flip through the Yellow Pages and not do any research,” or just kind of pick up the phone and call, people like to do research first, which is online, right?
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Or not even, just pick up the phone and call. People like to do research, which is online, right?
Dan: Yeah, the root of it is largely generational. Realtor.com or whatever, they do a lot of studies of who’s selling their homes and who’s buying homes and how they’re searching and stuff. For them, I think it’s more than half of all home sales are going to start and end online at this point, in some way. They’re maybe not going to end online but they’re going to start online. I think largely it’s because if you look at the breakdown of who is actually selling homes now, you’ve got younger boomers and generation X.
I consider myself generation X. I’m 36. I’m right on the line there. It’s basically me and my mom. My mom’s a younger boomer and I’m the generation below her. Both of us do everything online at this point. I started doing everything online, my mom had to learn, but she’ll do everything online at this point. So when those two groups are, I think, together like 70% of all home sales or something, that just means that stuff is starting online.
Yeah, and I think you’re right. Part of it is, “Hey, do I know who you are? Hey, are you a real business?” that kind of thing.
Mike: Sure, sure.
Dan: Part of it’s just we’re being trained to throw our mail away because more and more of the stuff we actually need is online. All my bills come to me online. My bank statements come to me online.
Like I was telling the story, I found out I owed the IRS $4,000 because it sent me a thing, being like, “Hey, you owe $4,000,” and I had just ripped it up and thrown it out without opening it, one, because I’m an idiot, and two, in my head I’m like, “Nothing valuable comes in the mail.” So I don’t even look at the mail unless it’s my wife’s birthday and she’s getting a card or something.
Mike: Yeah. Then you open them up to see it’s not from another guy. Is that what you do?
Dan: Yeah, yeah.
Mike: “Who’s sending you a card?”
Dan: Yeah. “Oh, it’s your mom? Fine.” It’s a combination of all that stuff. It’s only going to get more intense, not less, until we’re all doing VR or whatever the next thing is. Yeah, I think that’s the core of it.
Basically for most people, if you’re not online . . . and not only if you’re not online, if you are not one of the first five things they look at, you don’t exist. You might be online, if you’re on the second page of Google or whatever, when was the last time you clicked to the second page of Google to find something. I don’t even scroll down at this point.
Mike: Yeah, it’s rare.
Dan: Yeah. Showing you the thing you want right away, so it’s really become this kind of arms race for businesses because that’s where all the people are. Like I said, in the future it’ll be something else. Right now, it’s kind of the search network.
Mike: Let’s talk about paid advertising. There’s lots of places you could pay to advertise. Google is the obvious one, but what are different ways to spend money online for advertising?
Dan: Yeah. Online advertising is great in general because it lets you skip the hard part. If you have a website and you’re trying to rank it organically or whatever, the thing we always say is it’s going to take you at least six months of hard work before you start to see a change. Advertising just skips that process and you can show your ad right away.
In terms of where you do that, there are a bunch of different ad networks. There are literally hundreds of different ad networks total. For investors, the vast majority of motivated sellers you’re going to be able to grab are going to be concentrated really only in three. The other stuff’s kind of interesting. It might be interesting to know, “Hey, LinkedIn does ads.” But for motivated sellers, it’s mostly a waste of time.
When it comes down to it, the channels are going to be Google AdWords, which is Google’s specifically search ads, and we’ll talk about that in a second. Facebook is one that’s kind of becoming more important. Then there’s another one that has to do with combining online advertising with direct mail, which is sort of like the newest, more experimental one.
Do you want me to kind of break those down a little bit?
Mike: Yeah, let’s get into them.
Dan: All right. Cool. AdWords obviously is our favorite channel. My company’s named AdWords Nerds, so obviously we put it in the name. It’s kind of very close to my heart. It is by far the biggest volume.
Mike: If that changes, you’re going to have to change your company name again, just like the “Two Guys” thing. I see what’s happening. You pick business names that may not fit tomorrow, Dan.
Dan: I paint myself into a corner.
Mike: It needs to be Acme Co. is what you need to call it.
Dan: My previous company name was “Full Head of Hair Web Design.”
Mike: No, I’m sorry. Go ahead. So AdWords is what you love. Go ahead.
Dan: It’s where most of the people are. Pretty much everyone has gone on Google. Google is a verb at this point. It is just the place where most people are going to go. It also tends to be the highest competition channel.
If that’s where most of the people are going to go, that’s where most of your competitors are going to go. Because of that, it can tend to be a little pricey if you don’t know what you’re doing, or even if you do know what you’re doing. The thing that’s good about AdWords in general is that in-house we’ll talk about it as being intentional, meaning that the way you’re targeting people is like I went online and I typed in “I want to sell my house” and then you’re showing your ad to that person. You know their intent. You may not know who they are.
For example, I don’t know in that situation if they have any equity. What I do know is that they want to sell. What that ends up doing is even though those leads are more expensive, they tend to close or convert to a deal under contract a lot more often than the other lead sources.
AdWords is a lead source where it’s a channel that really lends itself to a strategy where you’re going, “Hey, maybe not the biggest volume of leads in the world, but because I close more of these, I’m actually going to do probably the highest amount of deals from that channel in general.”
Facebook is the next one. Facebook is getting very popular now. There’s a lot of interest behind Facebook now in the investing world because it’s a much lower competition for investors than AdWords is. Kind of what happened is AdWords got really competitive so people started to move to Facebook. Facebook has a lot of things that are really interesting about it. Incredibly large audience sizes available, so you can get in front of a lot of people very quickly. You can target based on how many square feet their house is, when their house was built, how much the house is worth, whether they are ready to move, that kind of thing.
Mike: Let’s stop there for a second. That’s interesting because I wasn’t aware of that. One of the things about AdWords, obviously, is that you’re targeting keywords that would tell you that that this person might be a motivated seller. That’s what you’re trying to find, motivated seller leads. You’re using keywords like “sell my house fast,” “buy my shitty house,” whatever it might be, the keywords that kind of indicate that . . . Like if they say “sell my house through a realtor,” you probably shouldn’t be buying that because it’s probably not somebody looking to sell their house at a discount, at least as an investor.
Now with Facebook, clearly they have . . . Of course Facebook and Google know more about us than we probably know about ourselves at this point. I guess my question was going to be around motivation. How do you know if there’s motivation and of course even equity? Maybe that’ll evolve. I knew they know what are my likes, what are my interests, what kind of groups am I in, lots of stuff like that. But in terms of knowing that I’m interested in selling my house, talk about how they know that and how you target that.
Dan: Exactly right. If you’re talking about page likes or interests, that’s information that Facebook owns. But if you’re talking about information like, “When was your house built? How many square feet? Are you ready to move?” those are third party data sources that Facebook is licensing for use in their advertisements.
For example, if you are targeting people based on credit rating or . . . I actually don’t know if credit rating is available. But let’s say income or whatever, you’re talking about income level, that information might actually be licensed from Equifax, for example, and they’re sort of tying that to your Facebook profile some sort of magic in the background.
Mike: How about motivation, though? Does Facebook know if somebody has searched for “sell my house fast”? Do they know if somebody’s interested in a quick sale for their home, let’s say?
Dan: You have hit on the exact problem with Facebook. It’s not so much a problem as it is the nature of the beast. Google, they know what you search for but they don’t know who you are. Facebook knows who you are but they don’t know what you’re searching for because nobody is going into Facebook and typing in, “I need to sell my house fast.” Likewise, because motivated sellers want to sell in the moment, and before they are motivated, they don’t care. After they’re motivated, they don’t care.
No one is liking a page that says, “I need to sell my house fast.” That’s not the behavior that’s associated with a true level motivation. So the very nature of Facebook is sort of the opposite of Google. If you say Google is low volume, high cost, high conversion, Facebook as a channel is very much high volume, low cost, but lower conversion rates. You have to generate more leads on Facebook to close a deal but they tend to cost less.
The other challenge to Facebook right now, and I think largely I have yet to see anyone really dial Facebook in for investors and have it work consistently market to market to market in the same way. AdWords, the approach is pretty . . . It’s not set in stone but I can jump into AdWords and pretty much know exactly what we’re going to do in any market, whatever, at least in the beginning. The focus is still up in the air and I think largely that’s because those data sets that I talked about, like, “Hey, when was your house built?” sometimes there’s a bunch of people that have that data in Facebook, and in other markets, there’s hardly anybody.
Because Facebook has this algorithm that sits below the surface, it’s like whether or not someone even sees your ad in their feed . . . You have your feed, your ad might show up in their feed. What controls whether that happens? Well, it’s the Facebook algorithm. So even if you want to target that person, Facebook has a layer between you and them that’s basically them opening the door to the club. They’re like, “You’re cool, you can come in.” But then the next time they’re like, “Nah, we’re not going to show your ad to anybody.”
That process is completely opaque and it’s bonkers. Sometimes we’ll launch a campaign on Facebook and it’ll crush, just crush all day and we’re like, “Yes.” It’ll be like, “Okay, I’ve got to go away for a weekend. I’m just going to pause it and then we’re going to come back and we’re going to start crushing it again.” Then I’ll come back and I’ll un-pause it and it’ll die.
Dan: Why? I have no idea. There’s a layer of magic. It’s like magic pixie dust in between.
Mike: They’re like, “That’s what you get for pausing your ad, my friend.”
Dan: I know because they never stop giving us money ever for any reason. It’s a trickier channel, it’s a more finicky channel. It’s actually, I would say, probably more similar to direct mail than to AdWords, even though AdWords and Facebook are both online, direct mail is like, “Hey, I’ve got this list of people that match this criteria. I don’t know if they want to sell, but I know they’re in this kind of home or whatever.” Those people, a lot of them would [inaudible 00:24:53]. Facebook is very similar.
Mike: A hot topic right now is retargeting, retargeting people on Facebook. For example, maybe you could extrapolate on this, but somebody could visit your page through Google, they found a word. So you know because they hit your page that they’re some level of motivation for what you have to offer. Without getting too technical here, because we’ve done a little bit of this, you can even have a cookie set after they’ve been on my page for 30 seconds. They didn’t just bounce right away. We try to get people that actually took some time to read some stuff. “Oh, they must be interested.”
Then you could retarget those people on Facebook. Is that right?
Dan: Yeah. Basically it’s like if you’ve ever seen those ads where you land on a page and then the ad follows you around for the rest of your life, that’s retargeting. I looked at a gym bag the other day on some website and then all of the sudden every ad I see is about gym bags and I’m like, “I don’t really want a gym bag but you think I do.” I just thought that it was overkill.
Retargeting for motivated sellers is really interesting. If you would have asked me, let’s say four years ago, before I started working with investors, say, “When do you do retargeting?” I would say early, often, every single time. Retarget, as soon as you set up your website, start building your retargeting audience.
For motivated sellers, I actually walk that back a little bit. For example, for our clients, when people are paying us to manage their stuff or when we’re coaching students or whatever, I will typically say save your retargeting for month three. The reason I say that is because whether retargeting adds to your bottom line or subtracts from it . . . Because you think about it like these leads bounced away and you’re paying to bring them back. A lot of times it’s cheap to bring them back but you are still paying again for the same way you paid for it the first time.
Mike: Right, right.
Dan: Now that’s awesome and so, so profitable and so, so cost effective if they were truly a motivated seller to begin with. But if they weren’t, you’re essentially adding to your lead cost to bring back a lead you never really wanted to do. So for me, it’s all about how well dialed in is your initial traffic source.
So if you’re doing AdWords and Facebook, your advertising for motivated sellers, month one you’re sort of struggling, month two you’re getting the hang of it, month three you start crushing, that’s when you start bringing those people back because anybody you sort of restore to the system is going to add to your bottom line. If you do that in month one, you’re adding on extra spend, you’re sort of diluting your focus and this traffic’s kind of not dialed in yet so everything’s kind of lower value overall.
Mike: Sure, sure.
Dan: That’s a personal philosophy kind of approach to it. There are people who might argue otherwise but that’s what I’ve seen work the best in this industry specifically.
Mike: Yeah. If nothing else, it gives you a way to kind of isolate . . . to still use Facebook, let’s say for example, which you can still retarget on Google and Google ad network as well. On Facebook now where people are logging in 15 times a day on average or something like that, where they’re at, you’re able to kind of isolate and say, “Instead of showing my ad to everybody that might have interest that’s in my market,” then you are saying, “let me just target the relatively small number of people that have expressed some level of interest in me in the past, right?
Dan: Yeah, absolutely. For my own business, the way we advertise, we were spending $4,000 or $5,000 a month in advertising and doing very well, primarily on Facebook. We actually dialed that back. All we do is retargeting now because instead, what we’re doing is I’m doing stuff like this or I’m putting out content. I’m trying to be everywhere. People that are interested in us are going to click through for free, land on the site, then I can show ads just to those people because I’m like, “Hey, you were interested in this. Can we provide more value to you?” So it can work really well, it just depends on where you are in that process.
I had to spend a bunch of money for several months to get to the point where I felt like I knew our audience well enough, I know the people who listen to FlipNerd are a good match for us. Or like if I went onto some other show, maybe that audience isn’t as good a fit for us.
Mike: Like Family Feud or something?
Dan: Yeah. I was on Wheel of Fortune. I’m like, “This hasn’t generated any business for me.” Although I would love to go on Wheel of Fortune. I unabashedly love Wheel of Fortune. But you know what I mean.
For everybody the process is always going to be dialing things in and getting it to the point where your numbers all make sense. You’re like, “Hey, I put $1,000 in, I got $10,000 out.” You should literally do that all day.
Mike: Yeah, do that again.
Dan: Until you pass out, right?
Mike: One thing I know we’re going to talk about, I want to make sure we get it in, is to talk about what you call direct mail leads, so I know that if you have leads that are in your CRM that people have . . . Well, you could do two things. I don’t want to steal your thunder here, but if you have a mailing list, you could upload your list to Facebook and they can kind of match . . . They try to match the IP address, I guess, of that address. I know that’s not perfect but they could figure that out and you could be targeting . . . Basically the same people you’re sending direct mail to, you could present an ad to, right?
Dan: Yeah. There’s kind of two ways we [inaudible 00:30:23] crossover from direct mail to online. One is, yeah, if you can get their emails, you can upload that to Facebook as an audience. The catch to that is I don’t think they match the IP. I think what happens is they’re saying, “Is this email address actually being used on Facebook.
Mike: I see.
Dan: That’s got two challenges. One is, you’re exactly right, the audience match size is not huge, so if you give them a list of 1,000 people, 1,000 emails, you might only get 250 targetable folks out of that. That’s kind of not a great ratio.
The other challenge is just associating the email with the address. If you’ve got a direct mail list, of like, “Hey, I live at 123 Home Street,” or whatever, you’ve got to find the email of the person that lives there and that’s actually much more challenging than it seems. You’ve got to license that information. So it’s doable and we do do it, but it hasn’t been a ton of volume for us necessarily. But I think it could work, depending on how you’re targeting your direct mail.
The other thing we started doing at the beginning of this year, which is really, really exciting, and I don’t know this for a fact, I think we are the only people doing it for investors right now, which is cool. Basically, we license this database of unique IP addresses. Basically, unique IP addresses are stored within the actual modem of the house that you’re in. It’s not like when you clear your cookies on your browser or you delete your history because you don’t want your wife to know what you were looking at or whatever it was. You don’t delete your unique IP, you can never actually get rid of that.
What ends up happening is this database associates those unique IPs with actual physical locations. We take a list of, let’s say, 5,000 out of state owners, we can typically match about 50% of them, so we’ll get 2,500 IPs. We can then follow just those people around the web with online advertising.
The nice thing about that is a couple different things. One, you know who they are because you know who the list is. So out of state owners, you know they’re out of state owners. You can dial in your ad so it’s about that. There’s almost no competition for investors right now doing that stuff, so the cost per, let’s say, 1,000 views on the ad is much lower than either Facebook or Google, actually at this point. It’s cheaper to do.
Then the coolest thing about it is, yes, we’re trying to generate leads. You can generate leads this way and do deals, it’s awesome. But the cool sort of side effect of that is let’s say you’re going to send out a mailing to this list, like you’re sending out postcards or yellow letters or whatever.
If we can run the ads, let’s say we run the ads for two weeks before you send it and two weeks after you send it. What we’ll notice is that the 50% of the list that we showed online ads to are actually more likely to respond to the postcard because it’s like by the time they see it in their hands, they’ve been exposed to the ad or something that looks like a mailer seven or eight times.
So just psychologically, it’s much more likely to click and so we’ve actually seen direct mail response rates go up, which is kind of perfect because, in that case, they didn’t actually click, which means a lot of times we didn’t even pay for it.
So sort of combining these two things together has been really cool and really powerful. That’s like, “No, no, no, no.” Kind of just goes to show, Facebook, we started developing our Facebook service the second half of last year. We just started, got that up, we’re already like, “What’s the next thing? What’s the next thing?”
Mike: Right, right. That’s awesome. I guess at a high level . . . because we’re kind of coming to an end here, I want to talk about a couple more things. That’s one reason why you need to work with somebody who knows what they’re doing. I was talking to somebody the other day that I know well and I was like, “Oh, you’re doing paid advertising?” He’s like, “It’s not that hard. I just have some keywords.” I just knew, “There’s more to it than that, dude. You should not be doing that yourself.” I wouldn’t consider it.
Just maybe talk about the importance of working with somebody who knows what they’re doing. It is kind of like finding these new strategies and testing stuff versus somebody doing it themselves.
Dan: Yeah. It depends on what you want to do. I think absolutely people can pick this stuff up and learn it. You can pick up AdWords and learn it and do it yourself. I think that’s awesome. If you’re just kind of like, “Hey, I’m spending a couple hundred bucks a month, I check on it once a month,” that’s all fine.
Mike: Sure, sure.
Dan: If you’re trying to be more aggressive with it, I think where the benefit comes is having someone that’s going to be proactive about actually making things better. For me, it’s like when we’re working with clients, it’s like, hey, I’m in your account probably like four times a week, not four times a month. We’re always like, “Hey, what if we did this? What if we did this? What about this thing? What if we improved this thing?” It’s our job to make this thing run better because we don’t do contracts, so it’s like that’s how we keep our clients. We don’t do that. No one will stay.
I think it’s kind of like just outsourcing that bit of it over the sort of timeline of things, that person’s going to do much better overall.
Mike: You and the agency model is that you have the benefit of learning from lots of other clients and what’s working and what’s not working. There’s no way that somebody could climb the learning curve as fast as somebody that does this all day every day for a living on their own. You can say that about everything, right?
Mike: Truthfully, I always tell anybody that I’m coaching and mentoring, “Hey, your time is best spent either buying or selling houses, doing things that are generating revenue for you, or enjoying your life, which is why you got into this in the first place.” If you’re doing your own online advertising and doing your own rehabs and all that stuff, is this the lifestyle that you always dreamed of or what?
Dan: Yeah, well, it is for me.
Mike: Yeah, that’s your specialty, right?
Dan: Yeah. It’s all about just doing what you like. Like I was saying, I own a riding lawnmower but I still pay this dude $20 to mow my lawn because I hate mowing the lawn. I have bad eyesight, so I always leave these strips of long grass and my wife gets all upset. I’m like, “I just can’t help it.” You know what I mean?
For me, it’s like if you’re into it, if you like that stuff, get into it. We have coaching students and stuff, I’ll teach people to do this stuff all day long. I’m super passionate about it. I think it’s really fun. If that’s something you’re into, great. If you’re like, “All I want to do is close,” it’s just not something you want to do, then maybe working with someone makes a lot of sense. Like I said, I think your returns will be better long term. But for me, it’s all about you maximize happiness in your life and that might mean maximizing returns, it might not.
Mike: Right. Yeah.
Dan: Yeah, that’s kind of how I feel about it.
Mike: Dan, the last thing I want to talk about today, because we’re running a little long on time here, is just how to get started. If people are listening to this and they’re like, “I really know I need to be doing this,” whether they’re going to do it on their own, I guess, kind of what we just talked about, or they’re going to hire somebody, how do they get started? How do they figure out how much to spend? Sometimes that’s limited based on their own budget obviously. Or I guess it’s always going to be based on your budget. But how do people get started?
Dan: If they’re looking to just get started in general, I would say the things you’re looking for, for almost anybody, are you’re looking for how professional are they as an agency. They’re looking for like a Google partner. So we’re Google partners basically means we manage over a million dollars a year in spend. We’ve done that for several months in a row, we pass all these tests or whatever.
Anyway, I think that’s kind of a longer discussion. We can certainly talk about that. If they’re interested in getting started with us specifically, and this is something I’ll do because our industry is a shady industry. People always say the investing industry has some weird, dark corners to it. The online marketing industry is mostly dark corners with a few light spots in the middle.
So what I always say is even if you’re not sure that you want to do this at all, the way we’ll typically work with people is I’ll jump on the phone with people and do a strategy session, which is literally a working call. There’s no sales pitch or anything, literally, in it. Then basically what I do is I ask a bunch of questions and I say, “Okay, in your market with your situation, with your goals, here’s exactly how we’ll do this. I do these channels in this way.”
Then obviously people can hire us to do that if they want or not. They can just take it on their own. That’s almost always the best way to get started because most of the time, honestly, I will refer you to another agency or another person that’s really awesome. If you’re like, “I only want to do Facebook,” I’ll be like, “Well, we kind of do a bunch of stuff but I know an awesome Facebook person. Here’s the Facebook person you need to talk to.” At the very least it’s a good jumping off point.
They can do that, they can jump to adwordsnerds.com/strategy. It’s literally just a link to my calendar and you need to book a slot on my calendar and I’m happy to talk to whoever. I want the absolute minimum possible number of people in this world to be screwed over by online marketers. I’m so sick of that happening. All I can promise to anybody is I will give them the straight dope one way or the other.
Mike: The straight dope is what you give them.
Dan: That’s the name of my podcast.
Mike: That sounds like the name of a podcast, yeah.
Dan: It’s not bad, right? It’s got a ring.
Mike: You might have the DEA knocking on your door. “Is this where they get the straight dope at?” “No, I’m talking about information.”
Cool, Dan. Hey, I was about to ask where people go to learn more and I guess that’s where they’re going to go, adwordsnerds.com/strategy or adwordsnerds.com to learn more about your company. If you want a strategy session, you go to /strategy, right?
Dan: Yeah. They can hop on the website and learn more about us or strategies to link to my calendar. Drop us an email, drop me a line on Facebook. We’re around and I really do not mind sharing information at all, because for me, it’s how we give value to the community that’s been nice enough to really support us and, yeah, good karma comes back around.
Mike: Yeah. Awesome. Well, this is great information, Dan. I really appreciate you sharing it with us today.
Dan: Yeah, no problem. It was my pleasure. It’s awesome to talk and I appreciate it.
Mike: Yeah. We’ll add links down below in the show notes here for those of you who are interested. If you’re driving and you can’t write that down right now or something, we’ll have them below in the show notes.
Dan, really appreciate it. All of our users, this was show number 339 with Dan Barrett. Thanks for joining us. For those of you that are listening right now, truthfully this was the second show we were supposed to be doing on Facebook Live and this tool we’re using, I should have said this upfront, but this tool we’re using kind of kaput on us. Facebook changed something so the tool we’re using didn’t quite work so we kind of did this the old-fashioned way, not on Facebook Live.
But our intention is to start recording all of our shows on Facebook Live and that our Elite members get to see them, usually a couple weeks before anybody else. So if you’re interested in our Elite Membership, you can go to flipnerd.com/trial and you can get a trial membership for $1 just to learn more about it.
Either way, we appreciate you watching and thanks for joining us today. I hope everybody has a great day.
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